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Magical Beginnings and Happily Ever Afters

Paskuhan 2018 made us believe in magic, even for just a second.

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Photo by Miguel Yap

It was the beginning, and also the end.

Gray skies and occasional light rain showers might have greeted the crowds as they entered UST last Friday afternoon, yet when the clock struck 2:00, the rhythmic boom of the UST Yellow Jackets shattered the dampened mood of the whole University.

As the clouds finally unveiled the radiance of the sun, the energy steadily rose with the influx of students and visitors lined up by the gates of the University, eager to join their friends in the upcoming festivities, and people gradually trickling over to the UST Grandstand. With food on the one hand, and pang-sapin on the other, they all searched for a perfect spot to settle into once the program starts. With the audience’s excited chatters, the delectable scent of the food being cooked all around the field wafted through the air, and the blurry of motion of the Paskuhan staff clad in black. Paskuhan had finally begun. The University’s long-awaited festivities during the Christmas season is certainly a unique and unforgettable Thomasian tradition and there is no denying that it has always been on every Thomasian’s bucket list to attend this occasion.

beginnings of paskuhan

Photo by Miguel Yap

Last Friday UST took us on a brief journey back to our childhoods, each corner of the University was adorned with Disney-inspired lights and decorations—the iconic floating lights, Sven-like reindeers accompanying the Tiger, the grand chandeliers hanging above the Rosarium—enchanted Thomasians and visitors alike. While the festivity can be seen in two lenses; one, a bittersweet experience, as the last Paskuhan of this year’s graduating batch and two, a warm initiation into the Thomasian community for the freshmen, both shared their thoughts and sentiments to TomasinoWeb on this year’s Paskuhan as being either their first of many, or their last. Awe and wondrous gasps reverberated and flurried across the University, filling the hearts of the Thomasians and non-Thomasians alike with joy with every turn of their heads, taking in the breath of the holiday air.

“What I think about Paskuhan is very exciting. The way I see it is very lively and makes us have fun,” says Daniel Armand, an Engineering freshman with face alight with enthusiasm.

And like every Disney-inspired movie, the theme will never be complete without its charming music. As the concert began in earnest, more and more people flocked to the field. As the heart-wrenching tunes of I Belong To The Zoo played, light rainfall showered the crowd—yet Thomasians remained unfazed as – one could say – the rain never bothered them anyway. The blissful feel of the semester ending has rewarded Thomasians with this said event, a breakaway from their day-to-day responsibilities, savoring the opportune moment to unwind and leave their worries behind them in this memorable one-night event.

“So far, sobrang enjoy naman Paskuhan since ang daming tao and since as first year, we get to feel the culture here in UST.” said Ellen Mae, a freshman from the College of Accountancy.

i belong to the zoo band playing

Agree Guerrero, also known as I Belong To The Zoo serenades the crowd. Christine Tapawan/TomasinoWeb

The culture-rich University also breeds talented Thomasians. Several Thomasian acts graced this year’s Paskuhan stage such as Fourplay, UST Jazz Band, John Saga, and Julia Mella. With each passing hour, the crowd grew bigger and bigger. Flocks of students in their best outfits wandered across the University and already getting a head start in participating in the coming revelries of the eve.

As night fell, the famed UST Paskuhan lights finally came to life and the awe-struck crowd, armed with their cameras and phones, roamed around the light displays to take photos, allowing the University to finally show off its festive, holiday colors to its full potential. Thomasians were finally able to show to their visitors the scenery that they had been posting online with such glee and enthusiasm, and the decorative palette of lights certainly did not disappoint any of the attendees.

“This year’s Paskuhan celebration was – by far – the best Paskuhan I’ve ever been to because of the theme. I am a huge Disney baby and the fact that even the fireworks display was just chock full of Disney songs is just amazing to me.” Gaby Domanais said, a Senior from the Faculty of Arts and Letters, remarking on how the use of Disney themes further brought a sense of wonder that fit the holiday season.

As the night began to settle, so did its lively celebrants. Couples took their photos together beneath the trees of Benavides Park. Looks of endearment on their faces, groups of friends sprawled out in different areas of the University, sat down and sharing huge boxes of pizzas, giggling despite their mouths being full. It was already booming with activity and the evening had only just begun..

“It’s more inviting yung atmosphere than the last Paskuhan. Plus, mas maganda yung feeling ngayon dahil mas maraming lights” said Mary Ancheta, a Pharmacy freshman.

With the campus grounds continuously being filled with festive-minded attendees as the night went on, it also became somewhat harder to traverse. In certain areas, one had to push through the sea of people going in different directions, as well as the lines for the food stalls along Osmeña Drive.

visitors lining up in max's

Visitors line up for food. Miguel Yap/TomasinoWeb

“[Although] It was a much better experience this year, the number of people on the campus was insane. I couldn’t remember being that tired in the years before just by walking through the street where the food stalls were,” Benjamin Gutierrez, a 4th-year College of Tourism and Hospitality Management student in sharing his sentiments about the number of people that attended this year’s Paskuhan. However, this is not to say that this had ruined his Paskuhan experience for the night still had surprises up its sleeve.

paskuhan crowd hyping

Crowd joins the hype. Ralph Estrella/TomasinoWeb

To keep the evening’s energy alive, the event’s highly anticipated bands such as Quest, Ransom Collective, and Spongecola finally took up the stage and a torrent of people came flooding towards the UST Field. However, despite the rising excitement, the  barricades set up over various zones across the field kept the audience in order.

The cold December air was filled with tunes of nostalgia as the bands serenaded the crowd with music they were all too familiar with. When the first beat of “Tuliro” blared through the speakers, the crowd raised their hands and their voices as they sang along.

spongecola playing in paskuhan

Spongecola’s front man, Yael Yuzon in the sea of light. Miguel Yap/TomasinoWeb

In the middle of their set, the audience waved their phones as flashlights and transformed the field into a glimmering sea of stars, swaying along to the melodic rhythms. The lively energy of the people was so overwhelming that it made the performers’ and the audience’ eyes light up with passion to enjoy the moment before them, and continue on in seizing the night.

Then everything went dark.

With their hearts pounding wildly, and their eyes staring intensely at the jet black sky, everyone held their breaths.

Collectives awe rippled through the crowd as the first light decorated the bleak night sky. In the dazzling display of the yearly pyromusical, timeless and classical Disney songs from Tangled and Beauty and the Beast played as the sky became a canvas for a palette of bright and mystical colors that are magnificently exploding.

It was truly magical. With their eyes wide like a child seeing fireworks for the first time–Paskuhan 2018 really brought its magic not just through its lights, but also through everyone’s hearts.

couple looking at the paskuhan fireworks

Audience stares in awe of the fireworks. Jacqueline Martinez/TomasinoWeb

“[Compared] to the past Paskuhans, this was my best experience.” added Benjamin Gutierrez in regards to his last Paskuhan experience.

It was no denying the collective energy between the festivity and the crowd amplified the festive feel of the event and cemented Paskuhan 2018 as something that will never be forgotten by the Thomasian community, be it a freshmen experiencing their first ever Paskuhan, or a Senior enjoying their last one as a Thomasian.

While it is the start of many wonderful experience for our dear freshmen as they continue on with their academic journey in the University, it serves as part of a memorable and satisfying conclusion for our seniors as well. Surely, the Paskuhan tradition will still be practiced decades from now, but there is nothing like a Thomasian’s first and last Paskuhan experience that would be a personal experience treasured in their hearts, brimming with joy and nostalgia that are immortalized in photographs and in memory as to how ecstatic they were in seizing the night.

It made us believe in magic, even for just a second.

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Chat with astrologer shapes the fate of a UST bar exemplary passer

For bar passer and exemplary performer Portia Wynona Soriano, turning to astrology is one last resort.

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Artwork by Wendell Adrian Quijado/TomasinoWeb

A saying goes, “When in doubt, dance it out.” But for bar passer and exemplary performer Portia Wynona Soriano, turning to astrology is one last resort.

Having finished the first day of the historic 2020-2021 Bar exams, Soriano was doubtful about the accuracy of her answers given her struggles with the exam. With all the worries coming in waves after the first day of the historic 2020-2021 Bar exams, Soriano enquired about the fate of her dreams with a virtual astrologer, setting the direction of her success today.

“Noong first day kasi, wala na talaga akong confidence so nag-download ako nung app na parang may astrologer tapos tinanong ko siya, ‘Will I become a lawyer this 2022?’” Soriano told TomasinoWeb laughing as she recalled the moment.

In response, the virtual astrologer said that she would indeed become a lawyer this year, allowing her to sigh in relief.

Screenshots of Soriano’s conversations with the virtual astrologer

“Medyo kumalma na ako, nag-ready na ako for the second day tapos yun na lang yung pinanghawakan ko and aside from that syempre nagdasal na rin ako,” she stated.

Law school journey

The divine prophecy was just a small portion of the entire journey towards the Bar. As a student in the Faculty of Civil Law, Soriano faced numerous challenges that added fuel to her fire to becoming a lawyer.

During her first few years in law school, Soriano became susceptible to fevers just as she was asked to recite the Lagman vs. Medialdea case. Her sickness, however, did not stop her from studying the case, which she said is about 70 pages long.

“Doon ko na-realize na gusto ko talaga maging lawyer kasi after kong mag-recite parang naka-ginhawa ako,” Soriano said. “Parang nawala ‘yung sakit ko […] parang nag-enjoy ako nung nag-recite,” she added.

Soriano also shared how the UST Law Review became a “turning point” in her law school journey. 

“Feeling ko doon ko na-level up ‘yung recitation skills ko, and also how to make case digests kasi through that training, I learned how to properly read the case,” Soriano said.

After graduating cum laude in 2021, Soriano went straight for the gold. She started preparing for review right after the list of graduates was released. On those days heading to the Bar exams, she would enroll in Magnificus Juris and follow the syllabus given by the Supreme Court.

But those days made Soriano that the actual preparation starts on the first day of law school.

“Kasi kung sobrang nag-aral ka talaga nung law school days mo– when you are reviewing– mabilis lang ma-refresh sa’yo lahat,” she said.

The rewarding aftermath

After the Bar, Soriano tried doing things that would make her avoid the thoughts of the results. She tried doing jump ropes, among other things, which she said was a “big part” of her life.

She also said staying fit and healthy has gold benefits for those taking the Bar exams. “You have to stay fit for the bar kasi kung hindi ka healthy, baka mahirapan ka.”

When the results were announced on April 12, Soriano learned that she had passed when she was packing her things for Nueva Ecija. And as if the cherry wasn’t already on the cake, she also learned that she is an exemplary performer, a recognition beyond her expectations.

“Hindi pa rin ako makapaniwala, parang ‘di ko inexpect talaga yung exemplary kasi feeling ko sobrang dami kong mali sa questions sa bar,” she said.

Moving forward and persevering 

Now working in a private firm, Soriano said she wants to work in government but clarified that she still has a lot of work to learn about its “ins and outs.” 

Na-realize ko ngayong nag-w-work na ako parang sobrang theoretical nga ‘yung natutunan mo sa law school, parang andaming other skills na kailangan mong matutunan, how to interact with your clients,” Soriano said.

For Soriano, such success took a lot of hard work and dedication to her craft, and quitting is out of the question. 

“Fake it ‘til you make it, parang don’t quit. If you have a dream, don’t quit,” the lawyer said.

“Whatever comes your way, it will make you better din naman, so just learn from those adversities kasi those are the things that will make you stronger and prepare you for your dream,” she added.

Xander Ceballos
Stories Writer | + posts

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Kobe Dayao’s shot towards the UAAP Season 84 roster of anchors

“It feels almost like a dream to an extent kasi siyempre nung bata pa lang ako, I’m [already] listening to these guys,” the journalism major shared when asked what it feels like working with veteran analysts.

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Photo courtesy of Kobe Dayao

It was a few days before Christmas when Kobe Dayao, a Faculty of Arts and Letters senior, got the call from notable sports journalist Mico Halili. 

Dayao recalled Halili’s words offering him a tryout to be an anchor for the upcoming UAAP Season 84. 

“I obviously said yes. Really quickly, I tried out, and then a couple [of] weeks later, he messaged me and said, ‘okay let’s continue training in January,’” Dayao told TomasinoWeb in an online interview. 

Dayao began his training in January. In the same month, he got confirmation from Halili that he was accepted into the broadcast panel. Wasting no time, he trudged through the preparation by doing virtual simulations with the analysts.

“It feels almost like a dream to an extent kasi siyempre nung bata pa lang ako, I’m [already] listening to these guys,” the journalism major shared when asked what it feels like working with veteran analysts.

Dayao said the entire juncture was like a “pinch me” kind of situation because he still couldn’t believe it.

“At this point, I think I’ve passed my fanboy phase of getting in the same room with everyone, seeing all of these analysts, seeing all of these anchors in the same boat as I am,” he said, further stating he’s focused on doing well in the games and delivering the job. 

Dayao said he still feels pressured, and there’s even more pressure knowing that he’s the youngest anchor in the UAAP Season 84 roster. 

“I’m the only one in school. From everyone in there, ako na lang yung nagth-thesis pa,” he jokingly said. 

Despite feeling the pressure, Dayao knew that it was normal to feel the jitters because it would denote how much he wished to do a good job. Hence, the intensity surged in knowing that doing great is a way of giving justice to the people who gave him this opportunity, especially in his first games. 

He would be doing a solo play-by-play for one full quarter of gameplay, applying his own recording so it’d feel second nature come game time. Researching the players was also a part of his practice. Since some teams have a lot of rookies coming in, Dayao said they needed to do background checks, so they have something to talk about while they’re on the panel during the games.

“It’s a new experience for us, and we’re gonna have some learning curves, [but] I think that’s normal,” he said, emphasizing the need for having the right mindset in acknowledging that not everything will go smoothly and there could be instances when they would flop a little bit, but he’s fervently hoping it won’t be too much or not at all. What’s important is focusing on the job at hand. 

“We’re not there to boost our ego, build our own brand, or whatever. We’re there to tell stories, and we’re there to highlight the action. That’s our main job, that’s our goal, and if we deliver that, then that’s a job well done,” Dayao said. 

For Dayao, the commonality between the anchors of this generation from the ones before are telling stories and elevating the players to show they’re more than their jerseys — that there’s more to players and the game. 

When asked about what the audience should look out for this UAAP season, he said, “I’ll definitely look out for all the talent that’s coming through — [the] talent on the court [and the] talent off the court,” pertaining to the talents of the players and the set of correspondents bursting with different personalities and talents.

“I think the fans will learn to enjoy the reports, learn to appreciate them, especially the ones representing their school.”

Ada Pelonia
Stories Writer | + posts

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“This is what my four years prepared me to do”: Mayuyu and his bid for Secretary seat

In the midst of the University elections season, Mayuyu encouraged the Thomasian community to scrutinize the candidates running for positions on both the central and local level. He believes that, if the University picks the rightful leaders for such positions, this will have a big impact in the years to come.

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Photo courtesy of Francisco Mayuyu

DISCLAIMER: TomasinoWeb remains to be a non-partisan media organization that does not campaign for any candidate.

One Saturday morning, TomasinoWeb spoke with Nutrition and Dietetics sophomore Francisco Mayuyu. The candidate, also known as “Kiko” among his peers and colleagues, is running as Secretary for this year’s University elections.

Hours before the annual miting de avance for the Central Student Council, Mayuyu felt a mix of emotions.

“It’s a mix of excitement and nervous[ness] as well,” he said. “I’m really glad na for the past weeks, we were able to reach a lot of students when it comes to our credentials and plans for the following academic year.”

Mayuyu, who has previously been elected to a post in a University student council, expressed his anxiety due to the responsibility of the role he is running for, granted if the Thomasian community seats him in this year’s elections. 

He mentioned that nervousness is part of the process. When asked about what he looks forward to after the annual miting de avance, Mayuyu expressed enthusiasm to hear the ideas of his fellow candidates.

On student leadership and the Covid-19 pandemic

Mayuyu’s track record of student leadership has been significant in his stay in the University. In his term as the former Senior High School secretary in 2019, he has handled and participated in a handful of projects. Now sitting as the executive coordinator to the Secretary of CESC and CSC, he has been involved in ten projects which commonly align with social issues, empowerment, and mental health.

He said that one of the reasons he wanted to run is his willingness to help ease the work of students. 

“Cliche as it may sound but that’s […] among the several reasons kung bakit ako tumatakbo as CSC secretary,” he told TomasinoWeb.

“I believe this is what my four years prepared me to do and […] I believe that this is where I will serve best,” he added.

The online setup has compelled many students in the country to adjust to the “new normal”. Mayuyu acknowledges that many student leaders are burned out due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Marami talaga na student leaders na kahit gusto man nilang mag-rise up to the call, nahihirapan talaga sila ma-balance yung time nila,” he attests. “We are in [an] online set-up and mahirap mag-serve.”

However, despite the consequences, Mayuyu said that student leaders should relentlessly fight for their advocacies while continuing what they have started. 

“The good thing in this current status of student leadership in UST is their ability to inspire others to become leaders as well,” he said.

In his leadership stint in the University, he was involved in projects that tackled social issues. YOUthDecides, a voter’s registration and education campaign for Thomasians was one of them. 

He shares: “It’s a really pressing issue in the country, [especially] this time na makapit na yung national elections.”

On regrets and the next resolve

Despite his numerous contributions and high level of involvement in the Thomasian community, he says he still has regrets. According to Mayuyu, many students are unaware of the platforms and projects held by the University’s student councils. 

“Siguro one thing […] that could’ve been improved on is the part that we could’ve involved more students in making of the projects,” he admits.

“It’s understandable kasi ‘yun nga, may mental strains ngayong pandemic,” he added, saying that it is a “big wall” to conquer in reaching much of the student body.

To involve more Thomasians on a proactive level on the events in the University, Mayuyu believes that informing the community is the “best” approach. He referenced his platform, “POLARIS,” the creation of a centralized calendar to update Thomasians about the events happening in the University. 

On involvement to the Thomasian community and the country

While Mayuyu shows his side as a student leader, he also shared his sentiments and nostalgia as a regular student hoping for the return of the  face-to-face setup.

“It’s more of the people talaga kung bakit natin gusto bumalik sa face-to-face setup,” he said. “Nakikita natin na it’s [a] warm [feeling] to experience the Thomasian community.”

In spite of the heavy workload of the academic year, Mayuyu sees the importance of having a good support system of friends that you can trust. He claims that this is the secret to coping well with the “new” normal today. 

“I make sure that these people are [those] who I can trust,” he said. “I think that goes for a lot of students kung paano sila makakapag-cope dito sa online setup.”

In the midst of the University elections season, Mayuyu encouraged the Thomasian community to scrutinize the candidates running for positions on both the central and local level. He believes that, if the University picks the rightful leaders for such positions, this will have a big impact in the years to come.

“We are really giving the students […] to choose the right student leaders to serve in these positions.”

Mayuyu called students to raise their voice not just on social media but also on the streets. He stressed on the issue of misinformation and believes that it is the duty of Thomasians to uphold and help the country by making the right decisions.

Brin Isaac
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Blogs Writer (2017 - 2019), Blogs Editor (2019), Managing Editor (2019-2020), Executive Editor (2020 - 2021), President (2020 - 2022)

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